Legend has it that in the year 490 BC, an Athenian soldier named Pheidippides ran from the town of Marathon, Greece to Athens, a distance of about 42 kilometers, to announce that the Greeks have been victorious over the invading Persians. Pheidippides ran non-stop the whole way that when he arrived in Athens to pronounce the great news, he only managed to exclaim “Victory!” before collapsing to his death.
Fast-forward to 1896 and the marathon became one of the first Olympic sports in the very first running of the Olympics. At that time, the race was only pegged at 40 kilometers, and only 17 runners lined up at the starting line to compete in the first ever Olympic marathon. Out of those 17 valiant competitors, only 8 runners crossed the finish line. The winning time was just a hair under 3 hours by a guy named Spyridon Louis who wore leather shoes donated by his fellow villagers.